Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Kenichi The Mightiest Disciple Season 1 DVD Impression

Ah, the training anime. Geeky kid takes on intense training to get stronger. There are a ton of these type of anime on the market, some comedic, many serious. Kenichi from FUNimation is a mixture of both and executes well on both levels. What is it about Kenichi that makes his training and confrontation different from others? Gotta watch to know, but let’s try to summarize.

Kenichi DVD Season 1, Part 1
Kenichi Season 1, Part 1
Kenichi is a wimp. He is not spectacular at anything but has hopes of becoming … something, anything near great. He joins the karate club but is only accepted to cleanup after the older students. A chance encounter where he tries to help a damsel in distress, Mui, leads to another butt kicking for Kenichi but also a revelation. Mui lives at the Ry┼Źzanpaku Dojo, a dojo with six martial arts masters whom Kenichi seeks to train under. He pleads and is finally accepted into a world he could very well regret as he is the only disciple of the dojo and must contend with the insane training of the masters. Kenichi uses his brief training to counter the much larger head of the karate club which of course puts him on every bully’s list to smash. Very quickly Kenichi attracts the attention of the gang Ragnarok, his first encounter is with Takeda, a former boxer With an insane father, gang after him and six crazy masters the question is not when Kenichi will complete his training, but if he will even survive.

Now a quick look at the second part of season 1 …

Kenichi DVD Season 1, Part 2Kenichi Season 1, Part 2
A former foe turned ally thanks to a helping healing hand, an insane Dojo challenge and ‘relaxing’ trip to the beach. While not normal for most martial artist it’s just another day, another week for Kenichi. A seemingly innocent trip to an island turns into an insane training regime which teaches Kenichi to swim and deal with sharks. Thanks to his continued training Ragnarok is beginning to get more serious with Kenichi by lining up their top dogs, the 8 Fist of Ragnarok, including Kisara Nanjo, the Hermit and Romeo? Well, not quite Romeo yet, but a play where Miu is Juliet reveals Romeo to be the head of Ragnarok and Kenichi’s most dangerous foe yet. He wanted to just get stronger but now he finds himself fighting on the top of a moving bus and staring face-to-face with a group that could rival his Dojo. The fun is just getting started for Kenichi.

Ok, so let’s cover animation first. It’s good, little overblown for Miu and her … assets, and the characters remain, for the most part, in the same clothing and in same settings. School, Dojo, Streets and for a change the Beach are the settings, very ordinary looking. The animation itself is good but not great, its anime art, what the average person would think of as anime. The characters, especially the masters, each fit their character type and are funny as hell. Kenichi himself, he’s plain guy nothing more.

So how does an average looking anime hook the viewers? The story and this weak guy in training story is really good from the opening theme to closing. The story, once Ragnarok really jumps in, starts to feel like Tenjo Tenge with the bad guy back stories, it moves beyond Kenichi, but that is at the end of season 1. The bulk of the story is Kenichi slowly getting stronger, learning about different fighting styles and doing it all in funny ways. That’s it, nothing more to add. It’s a training anime with decent art and a fun, enjoyable story carried on with good voice work. Kenichi does not spectacular but it does many things well, check it out.

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